The midst of Hockey season!


(oops…I started writing this post in September and quickly stopped…time to finish the entry since it’s NOW December 26 and the hockey season is 1/2 way through…well, at least the Minor Hockey season is!)

I have one more week of freedom as a parent.  Hockey season is upon us!  Yikes!  Two boys aged 9 and 6 both love the sport as do their parents so it really isn’t that bad.  I actually love watching the games and practices and how much all the kids progress through the season.  But it shifts my thoughts back to the summer hockey schools and the year-long play for many children.  Developing your child for one sport only just makes me cringe.  YES, there are the kids out there who want nothing more then to play Hockey and there is nothing wrong with that BUT it’s their choice!  As a parent, please see the value in having your child experience other opportunities for nervous system development.  That means, playing more and enjoying different sports and activities will only help in your childs movement and sport development.

I am fortunate to work with high level athletes.  One of those athletes is Aaron Volpatti who is signed by the Vancouver Canucks.  I met his parents this summer.  Aaron dragged them to a stair workout which I’m sure they weren’t too pleased about.  Afterwards I ran into “talkative Tony” at the Wesbild Center, watching the Vernon Vipers practive.  Aaron and a few others were hitting the ice for a pre-season skate.  Jerred Smithson, Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ference to name a few.  The talent these guys have is amazing to watch and when you train them in the summer, it’s even more exciting to see their talent close-up.

It was great to hear stories on the young life if Aaron Volpatti and is training or lack of during many years.  Tony talked about the years of youth hockey and the additional sport and fun Aaron had AWAY from the rink.  It was great to hear stories from the eyes of a hockey dad and how important it is for a child to experience fun and sport away from their favorite sport.

What many parents don’t understand is there is also risk to having your child play one sport year round.  RISK?  I hear you say… WHAT sort of risk?  There are several.

  • Year round play in one sport may decrease performance in many development skills.  The more random, unstructured play, the more variety in their activities will allow the nervous system to learn patterns.  The more movement patterns the body knows and can perform the better the athlete.
  • Repetitive movement patterns can lead to injuries.  Over time the aches and pains can show their face… it may not happen right away but trust me…. it will happen.
  • As a child spends all year playing one sport what is neglected is true strength to play the sport.  Many parents want their child to play the sport without any solid training program which means lack of strength, stability, power development and more.  In order to “get better” you need to “train better”.
  • TRAINING IS KEY!  You will not break a child if they “lift weights”.  If you think about the stress that goes through the body during tasks such as stopping, turning, jumping etc that you see in sport, lifting a weight in a controlled manner is the least of your worries.  Getting a child strong is a positive thing BUT this doesn’t mean treating your child like a bodybuilder is the answer and NO I’m not telling parents to throw their child into a gym.  This point is to recognize the importance of strength!  The importance of movement control and co-ordination.  The importance of foundation building is crucial for sport success.  Think about it…does your child even know how to STOP properly and why is that even important?!!

There are several critical points to be made but it’s Boxing day and I think it’s time to stop working.  Plus, I’ve ate too much in 2 days to keep sitting on my ass!  If you are a parent, please appreciate the development benefits of variety for your child!

Now, time to play with my childs Marshmallow gun he got for Christmas.  I’m sure that counts too!